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Being Human is Hard

Posted on 30 Mar 2020 @ 10:25pm by Lieutenant Amiri Aldana 365, D.V.M., M.D. & Luuna C.G.CA/U & Sombra C.G.CA/U, C.PSA, C.ESA & Lieutenant Junior Grade Steven Bernard, Ph.D.

Mission: Ohuna - The Secret
Location: Comissary, Holodeck H17
Timeline: after the Gorn mission
Tags: Luuna, 7F03YTY836M, Sombra, 3CW4YMF696F


Bernard was again overwhelmed, bored and tired of countless personnel files. Out of the many people on this ship, he had relationships with perhaps three people. Not even friendships, more like tentative acquaintanceships that frustrated and sometimes panicked him. He wanted to throw his PADD across the room. It was full of faces that didn’t even act like he was here, sharing the same space with them. They had no care that he was stationed here for their own safety.

Calm down, a voice said. “Slagg you,” Bernard thought. No, you’ve got to do something. “Yeah, like assault someone?” he thought. “You could be consistent in your suggestions for once.” No, the voice said, Look for someone who is alone, and ask them to do something with you. The black and white man realized he was sweating. “Don’t give me another attack,” he thought, “I swear. I’ll do something to you. I’ll find a way. Those meds should be—” Stop, the voice said, Just try, Steven. Just try.

Bernard wiped his dual-colored brow with the back of his sleeve and scanned the room. There were several solitary eaters, but he stopped his scan on the tiger striped doctor with the quirky sense of humor. He stood.

“Don’t screw me over,” he said to the voice.

He walked over to the doctor and held out his black hand. “Good afternoon, Doctor Aldana,” he said, “I realize that I have met you but never made a conscious effort to befriend you. I apologize and suggest we spend time together soon to see if a friendship is possible.” He knew he must sound strange, but he couldn’t help it. He was going to lose it and wondered if it was a side effect of his new medication.

Sombra perked up to see one of his first clients here. He wondered how he was doing today.

Aldana had just taken a bite of hir meal when someone greeted hir; s/he looked up from hir meal to spy Mister Bernard. At the presentation of his hand, s/he quickly wiped hir mouth while trying to finish chewing quietly as s/he rose. Accepting the male’s hand, s/he shook it then – so s/he wouldn’t talk with hir mouth full – silently gestured to the other chair inviting the man to join hir.

Meanwhile Luuna lounged under the table nearby scenting the air. She’d never met this person before, but given Alpha’s and Brother’s unalarmed reactions, she figured he should be safe and returned to her snack.

Bernard smiled; his expression was an attempt at peace when he had no peace inside himself. He sat. “I remember Sombra,” he said, trying at some small talk, “I think I met Luuna at the party before the ground mission. They both have jobs, yes?”

Aldana’s expression brightened at the question, and s/he smiled. “Yes, Sombra’s priority is to me, as my service animal. He doubles as a therapy dog though. Luuna is trained in search and rescue. She just came back from a mission as a matter of fact. Sombra can do that too, but he’s not as into it. Thank you for asking.”

Sombra tilted his head, as if he were listening, but he didn’t understand much of it.

Luuna went to investigate the dichromatic man, sniffing his feet.

Aldana chuckled; “sometimes I get the impression that Luuna has also assigned herself as my personal security or something, but that can come with her species and breed.”

Bernard nodded. “What do you do for fun on this ship?”

Behind hir Aldana’s tail began to wag slightly. “Oh, I like to read and collect physical and digital comic media, but what I really like to do – because I can include the guyzos – is get involved in some table-top style role playing.”

The black and white man smiled, “Ah!” he said, “Old Fashioned D&D?”

That lowest-common-denominator middle-of-the-road dreck? No… Aldana thought to hirself, uh-oh, what if he actually likes that? S/he smiled, “yeah… sure… among others. Though the computer or GM sometimes has a hard time incorporating them into that very well if they don’t want to be a Druid’s familiar. Do you like it?”

Bernard waved the notion that he was ‘particular’ away with his hand. “I play anything I can learn. What tabletops do you play?”

Aldana smiled and listed three or four games s/he’d played before, then transitioning into a few s/he’d like to try too. “Have you ever heard of “Ten Candles?” s/he finally asked.

Bernard had no idea what s/he was talking about. He thought it was time to try a joke: “Isn’t that the one about human sacrifice and chicken worship?”

Aldana snickered and smiled. S/he was beginning to warm up to him. “Cute, the title does conjure up images of some sort of archaic dark belief system now that you mention it, no it’s about the last days of an inhabited planet; its star has ‘gone out’ and a group of friends and what they’d do before they all freeze to death, and if they had no way to evacuate. The cool thing is, it doesn’t matter what planet it is, or who the group are. Anyone can play. Even the guyzos – especially if they have an interpreter.”

The doctor leaned forward. “It isn’t your typical game because each campaign last for just one session. It’s freeing because none of the characters will survive, so you can do whatever you want – be whatever you want and the next time you play you all start over fresh with new characters, so there’s no worry about getting too attached to anyone or consequences from their actions.” S/he wondered if he’d like the idea, and if there were anything he’d like to do without any consequences or hang-ups the next day.

Is s/he coming on to you? “Perhaps,” Bernard thought, “but we might still be able to get a friendship going.”

“That sounds really sad, but cool,” the black and white man replied, “Let’s play sometime. What are the classes like?”

Aldana cocked hir head a little that way that some canids do. “A friendship, sure, I’d like that. I’d have to re-read the data file, but I’m not sure there really are any classes; being as the whole idea is you can be anything really. Besides, I don’t think it’s a fantasy setting specifically.”

Meanwhile below the table, Luuna overheard the talk of friendship and reached out to the man by placing her head in his lap for petting.

Sombra was keeping to his duties and stayed fixated on Alpha.

Bernard scratched the nice dog behind the ears. “Are you telepathic? I didn’t say I was looking for a friendship out loud, but I guess I could have. I am looking for friends. Set up a time and let’s play.”

Luuna murred at the attention.

“Well, yes, but mostly with non-humanoid animals. I assure you, I didn’t pry, maybe it was unintentional. Someone I know – P.J. – his sister used to get talking and thinking so fast she used to have to stop and figure out if she said something yet. It’s alright some of us just ‘think out loud.’” Amiri said. S/he thought for a moment. Well I’m usually on the gamma-delta shift in sickbay – that’s midnight to noon crossed over with 18:00 to 06:00 – so that usually gives me three days off. Afternoons during the week, or afternoons or evenings during my days off is best. What about you?”

“I can do an evening during the week,” Bernard said, “how about I meet you this Wednesday after dinner, say 19:00? Do you have a preferred Holodeck?”

Aldana chuckled and smiled, “Holodeck three seems to have a permanently attached “Out of Order” sign, I think that’s where the murderously rampaging holo-gremlins like to take over and make the programs go wonky. I personally prefer Holodeck two. Luuna and Sombra seem to have an affinity for the scent of that one. We’ll want to set aside at least two hours for the ‘zero-th’ session, that will need to be a character creation session, and for whatever reason it always seems to take the longest.”

The black and white man nodded. “Great,” he said, knowing that his break was over now. He had to go back to work. He offered his hand for Amiri to shake.

Amiri stood, “not-uh, not where I’m from…” S/he spread hir arms to offer the man a hug.

Bernard stifled a laugh, but the jump of his shoulders and the half-smile on his face gave him away. He hugged Amiri back and shuffled off to his office.


Doctor Amiri A. Aldana 365, D.V.M., M.D.
A. Chief Medical Officer


Bernard, Steven J., PHd, ENS,


Luuna, CGC.U/A [P. Aldana]
Self-appointed Bodyguard to the A.CMO


Sombra, CGC.A/U
Certified PSA to the A.CMO


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